Franken bill would end company tax breaks for pharmaceutical marketing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Al Franken, who sits on the Senate Health Committee, introduced a bill today that would end tax breaks to companies for direct-to-consumer health-products advertising and marketing to health care providers.

Pharmaceutical companies currently receive billions of dollars in tax breaks for product promotion.

“This legislation will remove these benefits so pharmaceutical companies can focus on developing new drugs, not excessive marketing schemes,” Franken said in a statement.

He added that “there’s no reason for drug companies to be getting a boost from taxpayers while Minnesota families are struggling to pay the costs of health care.”

Franken estimates that the federal government could save $3.5 billion a year by nixing these tax breaks.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Clare LaFond on 10/09/2009 - 12:29 am.

    Thank you, Senator Franken. This is a sensible start to curtailing pharmaceutical advertising, which pressures physicians to higher cost treatments than may be necessary.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/09/2009 - 12:49 pm.

    Huzzah! The drug companies successfully market to us and to doctors expensive drugs that sometimes don’t work as well as existing drugs that are no longer protected by patents.

    Nexium, for instance, was the new and improved Prilosec, and sold for a much higher price. Turns out that it improved results by about two percent, hardly worth the higher price AND the heavy TV and print advertising we paid for.

    And the original generic statin drug, lovastatin, can work as well as the newer ones that cost many times more. You know, the ones we see on TV, when the fellow says, “Ask your doctor if blah-blah is right for you.”

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